Write On! interviews author Nicholas Kasparis
Nicholas says: “I’m a 43-year-old primary school teacher. I’ve been a teacher for 20 years. Over the last seven years, I’ve taught as a supply teacher. This job has given me the time and flexibility to fulfil my passion for writing. I write fiction for children aged 7-11. Career highlights have included appearing on local radio stations (Time FM and Phoenix FM). I’ve also enjoyed author visits to local schools and the Chicken And Frog bookshop in Brentwood.”
WO: How would you describe your writing to someone new to it?
NK: I write children’s fiction, so am always very conscious of my intended target audience. I aim to write stories that contain plenty of humour. But also, I want to write compelling stories that engage children, evoking a range of thoughts and feelings. I want children reading my books to want to turn the page and read more. I want them to be immersed in the narrative and connected to the characters. My stories always contain an important message, a moral.
WO: Can you tell us a bit about your latest book, Attack Of The Roborts?
NK: My latest book is a sequel to Ralph And Robort. I’ve just finished writing Attack Of The Roborts and aim to get the book published in 2024. I don’t want to give too many spoilers for either book, but the sequel is about some robots that go haywire and start attacking the local residents. Ralph and his dad Arthur are the main suspects, and it’s like a ‘whodunnit,’ with plenty of plot twists. The reader is left wondering whether Ralph and Arthur will solve the Attack Of The Roborts in time.
WO: What inspired you to write in the first place, and what inspires you now?
NK: I’ve always had a passion for writing. I grew up on Roald Dahl books and loved their humour and imagination. My first full-time job was as a Secondary English Teacher. I enjoyed teaching a range of different stories, plays and poems. I also taught a creative adult writing course in the evenings, which fuelled my passion. That’s when I first began to realise I could start writing myself; not just as a hobby, but as a seriously committed writer. What continues to inspire me to write is the response I receive from children at different author events. I always want my next book to be better, so that’s the challenge!
WO: The current print issue of Write On! explores the theme of ‘Realities And Perspectives’. With that in mind, we have two questions for you. Do you always write realistically, or aim for alternative realities? Can you always confidently write from someone else’s perspective?
NK: I always write realistically in the sense of the characters. I like to create realistic, well-rounded characters. However, I want the narrative to be progressive and unexpected. I want to shock, surprise and engage the reader. This is fiction, so almost anything can happen. But when it comes to the characters and settings, I try to base them on things I know: people, places, experiences.
This leads me nicely onto the second question. I believe I can confidently write from someone else’s perspective because I’ve based some of the characters on people in my life. With other characters I’ve created, I like to put myself in their shoes. You know, empathise with how that character might be feeling at that moment in the story. I’m an empathetic person, so can always confidently write from someone else’s perspective.
WO: What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writer?
NK: Always plan your story first. Know the direction your story is heading, because if you don’t know, the reader certainly won’t know and they won’t feel connected to your book.
WO: Question from Twitter user: @madeleinefwhite Do you think there’s a different approach to storytelling when writing specifically for children?
NK: Yes, in the sense of creating humour. Children love humorous books, but your writing has to flow. You’re not writing a joke book! So, when appropriate, add some humour with something that has happened in the story. I also think people make the mistake of underestimating what children can read. Feel free to write engaging books that challenge how children think and feel.
WO: Can you tell us anything about future projects?
NK: I aim to publish Attack Of The Roborts in 2024 and, again, will be visiting local schools and libraries.
WO: Lastly, if you could choose one fictional animal/creature to be a pet or companion, who would it be and why?
NK: I would choose the golden goose. I would look after it and not be as greedy as the farmer and his wife! I could then use the golden eggs that are laid to generate money and make local donations. One of the first donations I would make is to set up more opportunities for local writers. It’s important that more voices are heard and more stories are told.
You can connect with Nicholas Kasparis on Instagram: @nicholas.1710
Ralph And Robort is available to buy from Amazon: Ralph and Robort : Kasparis, Nicholas, Tee, Jacqueline: Amazon.co.uk: Books
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I always want my next book to be better, so that's the challenge!